CURRENT AFFAIRS , 4th Jan 2018

1 . India  imposes  antidumping  duty  on  98  products  from  China

India has imposed antidumping duty on as many as 98 products, as on December 27 last year, imported from China, Parliament was informed recently.The products on which the duty was imposed include flax fabrics, vitamin C, certain fibres and chemicals.

Background

Trade deficit with China stood at USD 36.73 billion during April-October this fiscal.Increasing trade deficit with China can be attributed primarily to the fact that Chinese exports to India rely strongly on manufactured items to meet the demand of fast expanding sectors like telecom and power.

Antidumping measures

Countries initiate antidumping probes to determine if the domestic industry has been hurt by a surge in below-cost imports. As a counter measure, they impose duties under the multilateral WTO regime.

Antidumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry. They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

 

2 . Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to India’s stand at WTO

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its ex-post facto approval to the stand adopted by India at the recently concluded ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held in Argentina last month.The mandate exercised and approach adopted at the conference was aimed at protecting India’s interests, priorities and concerns .

Background

The eleventh ministerial conference of WTO took place from December 10-13 in Buenos Aires but collapsed as the US reneged on its commitment to give a permanent solution to the food stockpiling issues of developing countries.

The government said that as there were wide differences among members, with a few members not supporting acknowledgment and reiteration of key underlying principles guiding the WTO and varied agreed mandates, ministers could not arrive at an agreed ministerial declaration.

The US’ refusal to reaffirm multilateralism and the Doha development mandate in the outcome led to a breakdown in talks at the 164-nation WTO as several countries, including India, opposed the US position.

India’s  Stand

India did not support the draft Ministerial Declaration as it excluded or failed to adequately cover important issues such as multilateralism, the Doha Development Agenda and special and differential treatment of developing countries

In fisheries, India was able to push the commitment to 2019, to prohibit certain forms of subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In e-commerce, India managed to convince other countries to continue with the old work programme that links a two year continuation of the moratorium on e-commerce with the continuation of one on TRIPS and non-violation complaints.

 

3 . Exchange of words  in  Parliament over making Hindi one of the official languages at the United Nations.

The Government and Opposition on Wednesday engaged in a war of words over making Hindi one of the official languages at the United Nations.

What is the proposed move ?

The Government is trying to make Hindi one of the official languages at the United Nations.

The difficulty 

As per rules, two-thirds of the 193 members of UN will not only have to vote for Hindi as official language but also share the financial cost incurred to do so.Economically weaker countries that support us shy away from this.

Opposition’s Stand 

What is the need to push for Hindi when it is not even the national language of India ?  Why should we put our future Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers who may be from Tamil Nadu in a difficult position ?

 

4 . Government to infuse Rs 7,577 crore in 6 weak PSU banks

The finance ministry has approved proposal for infusion of Rs 7,577 crore in 6 weak public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the recapitalisation plan to bolster capital adequacy ratio.All these banks, which got capital support, are under prompt corrective action of the Reserve Bank of India.

The funding comes under Indradhanus plan of the government which promised Rs 70,000 crore over period of four years ending March 2019. While the government decides the mode for recapitalisation of all state-run banks, it advanced the release of funds to these six banks to help them meet their equity requirements and enable them to resume normal business and help them come out of prompt corrective action.

The Government in October had announced an unprecedented Rs 2.11 lakh crore two-year road map to strengthen PSBs, reeling under high non performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans. Their NPAs have increased to Rs 7.33 lakh crore as of June 2017. The plan includes floating re-capitalisation bonds of Rs 1.35 lakh crore and raising Rs 58,000 crore from the market by diluting government’s stake.

Indradhanush road map

Under the Indradhanush road map announced in 2015, the government had announced infusion of Rs 70,000 crore in state- owned banks over four years, while they will have to raise a further Rs 1.1 lakh crore from the market to meet their capital requirement in line with global risk norms, known as Basel-III.